by Rachel Anderson, Marketing & Communications Manager for Ability Tools
For some of us, this is great, and we can delve into a hands on discovery of all the different apps and what they do.
For others, this creates panic, fear and dread. How am I supposed to remember what all of these buttons do? How do I know where to go to access my calendar, my contacts, and… oh my gosh, how do I make a normal phone call on this thing?
As amazing as smart phones are, they can be frustrating to new users and also to users that have different cognitive disabilities.
Well, if you or someone you know has experienced this smart phone frustration, take a look at this new app called Cloudina.
Cloudina is specially designed to teach independence and daily living skills for people with cognitive disabilities through a smart phone. Right now it consists of 4 main apps that support users in carrying out daily activities. This app can be used for individuals and also for a day program center and its staff to use with their clients.
Here are some demonstrated benefits of using Cloudina (taken from their website):
Traveling independently – The BlueAssist feature encourages the client to connect with others and ask for help.
Despite months of training, Sofie could not learn where to get off the bus. In a system where one is always told what to do, one loses any sense of taking initiatives, and does not even remember things. Don’t you have problems remembering how to drive to a destination when you use a GPS?! Using BlueAssist and asking the bus driver to give her a sign when they reached the right bus stop, she learned it. Now she is taking the bus by herself and going from her house to the day care center and from there to all the other places she must go for her daily activities.
Hans, another Cloudina user, takes the train from Ostend to Leuven over a distance of about 150 km (90 miles).
They are both now more independent and do not have to wait till someone is available to accompany them during their travel.
Sofie, Hans and other users of Cloudina are now more often in the streets of their own and other cities. They are now visibly part of their community. The more people see people with disabilities in the streets, the better people know how to interact and help them if they have a question. The society becomes more and more inclusive.
Peace of mind and better daily structure
People who cannot read a clock don’t know when they must do something or go somewhere. As a result, many of them just miss their appointments. Others get nervous and then ask others all the time if it is time for them to get ready. The time indication of the Cloudina app by means of blocks makes it clear for the users whether or not the appointment is about to start. It warns the users when the time is reached. This gives the users peace of mind and avoids tension with coaches and caregivers.
If a client gets lost or thinks that he/she is lost and doesn’t know what to do, the easy-to-use Telephone app of Cloudina enables the users to call their coach and ask for help. If the users cannot explain where they are at that moment, they can send their GPS location to the coach by tapping the Globe button on their phone. If they are in a stressful situation and they can’t manage to do that, the coach can take initiative and locate the client. Being able to call for help and knowing that they can always be found gives the clients more confidence and encourages them to go out by themselves.
Many clients can only perform a task when they have a step by step plan. Some need to be reminded what they were supposed to do. Pictures of the activities can be saved in separate albums of the Cloudina Album app. The users can consult those albums if they need support in doing their task. Some Cloudina users have a job or do their own shopping independently using these albums.
Many people with intellectual disabilities have been told for years that they could not do anything by themselves and that they always needed somebody to guide them all the time. In many cases Cloudina has proven that to be NOT true. With a little bit of technological support and some belief in their ability they are capable of doing many things. Cloudina has offered its users a much higher self-esteem and a better quality of life.
In addtion to benefits for the users of Cloudina, the app also offers benefits for the “coaches” or organizations.
More quality time
Because the clients become more independent and learn how to do things on their own, a lot of time is saved. Instead of walking in the streets or sitting in a bus, the coach can remain at the organization and has more quality time with those clients who need it. One of the basic ideas of Cloudina and BlueAssist is that support is available at anytime, but is offered only when it is needed.
During the time that no help is required, the coach can do other things. It has been proven that, in Ithaka, the day care center where the idea of Cloudina was born, that the same number of staff can support more clients. Ithaka has realized an increase of capacity by more than 50%.
In most day care centers and other programs, activities are organized collectively. A supervisor makes sure that a group of clients do an activity. The organization then, has a big problem if a supervisor calls in sick, for example. If the clients do activities outside the organization individually, this situation is not necessarily a problem. Even if some new appointments need to be programmed, other coaches can do it very fast.
Lower accommodation costs
If a client wants or needs to do something outside the walls of the organization, somebody has to accompany him/her. You probably recognize the situation. What if the client could go outside alone? How much money does that save you? It is proven that Cloudina can help many people to do that. The coach can support the client remotely. New appointments, phone numbers, pictures, BlueAssist messages are added on a management website. The smartphone of the client is updated through the cloud automatically. The users can receive new instructions even if they are not inside the organization. No need any more to write a new appointment in the calendar of the client or stick new pictures in his/her album. Everything can be done through the PC faster and cheaper.
Does this app sound like it might be perfect for you or for a loved one? Well, another bonus is that you can TRY IT FOR FREE for 30 days. Let us know what you think!